AXS TV is paying tribute Friday (April 8th) to one of country music’s most beloved artists, Merle Haggard, with a special airing of Dan Rather’s The Big Interview with Merle Haggard on April 8th at 11:30 a.m. ET/8:30 a.m. PT. There are few music artists who are genuinely considered legends. With nearly 40 No. 1 hits, Haggard is certainly one of them. Haggard passed away today (April 6th), on his birthday, at the age of 79.

For more than 50 years Haggard has been singing a style of country western music that he helped pioneer. Haggard rarely grants interviews but before a performance at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in North Carolina, Haggard sat down for an extended conversation with Dan Rather, speaking candidly about everything from his time in prison to his politics, touring with Bob Dylan, and his biggest fear in life. The episode originally aired on September 30, 2013. (The Big Interview episode will have additional airings on Saturday, April 9th at 9 a.m. ET and Sunday, April 10th at 8 a.m. ET.)

In this clip from the show, Haggard talks about aging, death, loneliness and what kept him alive.

Also, AXS TV will be airing the 2004 concert Merle Haggard – Live at Billy Bob’s Texas as part of the network’s tribute to the Country Music Hall of Famer on Friday, April 8th at 12:30 p.m./9:30 a.m. PT. Heralded as one of his best concerts, Merle Haggard – Live at Billy Bob’s Texas features such songs as “Ol’ Country Singer,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and “Natural High,” among others. The concert airs again on Saturday, April 9th at 10 a.m. ET.